We'll be able to complete our visits in Samarkand
as the train that must taking us to Khiva is by night, so it makes and
entire day in this city.
We have a priority for today: exchanging money. The soms
we brought from Tashkent are spent and yesterday was Sunday so banks
were closed. The first thing I do after breakfast is going to the bank
in Tashkent Avenue, but I find there that,
unexpectedly, they’re not exchanging money and foreigner cards cannot
be used in their ATM.
With this, I come back to the hotel to ask about our options. The
solution seems to be to take a taxi to the only bank in the city we can
use our card, which is far away. We choose the dark option offered by
someone, though: exchanging the money in the black market, and we’re
told new bank notes are not there yet, so all the change will be in the
old way, with 1000 soms notes.
We give 200€ to this person as our emergency is paying for the hotel,
which is three quarters of the total and we’ll exchange more once in
Khiva. When we get the local money, which is what is in the photo, I go
downstairs to pay for the hotel.
It’s 11 AM when
we’re ready to leave the hotel. From out list of highlights, the only
ones remaining are the two just around the hotel: Bibikhanum Mosque and
the market. We go first to the market thinking on leaving the shopping
in the hotel, but it is far from the live we saw yesterday here.
Inside, there are just a few stands opened. We’re offered for some
tasting of sweets in one of them and we end by buying a block of nougat
by 6000 soms.
Finally, we’re by the Bibikhanum Mosque entrance, where we pay
22000 soms each and 5000 more for the photo permit, 49000 soms in total.
The central courtyard is quiet and we could spend the day
here watching the birds. The buildings around are beautiful, but in
ruins. Although remains enough as per having an idea of how magnificent
this place was.
There are a lot of corners for fantastic pictures here,
with the trees and the patterns in the walls and blue domes.
After a 40-minute visit, we’re back in Tashkent Avenue
with all the tasks done for this city. There are great views of the
mosque from the avenue.
We walk along Tashkent Avenue with no rushes, exploring
every gift store there and, we find ourselves in the Registan. We keep
walking through the gardens, where is Chorsu, the old market.
We walk the avenue back to the hotel looking the daily life here,
that’s why we didn’t want to take the electric vehicles that work along
this avenue. We’re looking for a place for our lunch too.
We choose the terrace of restaurant Bibikhanum Chaikana, just
besides the hotel, where we eat their homemade pasta and some chicken
by 50000 soms.
Then, we choose the terrace at the top of the hotel for
out tea, which has a fantastic view of Bibikhanum Mosque. After this we
go to the room for a nap.
When we can see sun is setting we leave for a walk to
Registan as we want to see it with the lights on. When we get there,
we’re astonished by the view.
We’re spending there more time than we thought admiring this wonder as the night is coming.